It was approaching 10 o'clock before we were in a position to commence operations, with Alison Muldal from Natural England, along with Judy Webb outlining our jobs for the morning. The reeds at the fen had once again been cut by the golf course staff and it was a matter of raking them up and transporting and piling up these cuttings along the edge of the site, away from the delicate wetland habitat. At the same time, another group were tasked with removing some small trees and bushes along the opposite edge of the fen in an effort to halt their further encroachment.
Despite the cold and rather crisp beginnings, the sunshine soon took the chill out of the air and by keeping busy we soon warmed up. Good progress was evident with the raking fairly rapidly, with the cuttings deposited into builders' 'drag bags' for removal. A much more efficient operation than pitchforking alone!
As we worked, red kites circled overhead, a rather magnificent sight! Not many other creatures were evident, as expected at this time of year however - just a few birds, and certainly too early in the year for amphibian activity around the ponds. Judy did however spot some fairly locally rare plants to add to her species list.
Given our late-ish start, tea break soon came along, providing the opportunity to take stock of our progress. We were over halfway through our reed raking and stacking and thus additional members were re-assigned to the tree removal detail following refreshments. A good push in the final hour ensured that we completed our mission here, ready to pack up and transport ourselves and the equipment back across the golf course. As usual our rather messy appearance met with some bemusement among the golfers out for their Saturday round, but it did at least provide a good opportunity to spread the word about our conservations activities at this location!
|And so it begins...|
|James in a thicket|
|Judy hard at work|
|A red kite circles overhead|
|Refreshments by the reed pile|
|Robert and Alison discuss the plan of action|
|Dieuwke and Heidi with one of the drag bags|
|Robert and Barry sawing one of the fallen trees|
|Lizzie and Lesley|
|One of the ponds|
|Action amongst the trees|
|A collection of rakes and pitchforks|